To most people it probably seems that La Salle and his men, permanently fixed in the pantheon of explorers of the North American continent, need little further introduction. The fact is that this whole early period of exploration and colonization by the French in the southeastern United States has received far less scholarly attention than the corresponding English and Spanish activities in the same area, and even the existing scholarship has failed to focus clearly upon the Indian tribes whose attitudes toward the European new comers were crucial to their very survival.
In this collection of essays marking the tricentennial of René-Robert Cavelier de La Salle's 1682 expedition into the Lower Mississippi Valley, thirteen scholars from a variety of disciplines assess his legacy and the significance of French colonialism in the Southeast. These scholars in the fields of French colonial history and the ethnohistory of the Indians of the Louisiana Colony deal with a diversity of topics ranging from La Salle's expedition itself and its place in the context of New World colonialism in general to the interaction of French settlers with native Indian tribes.
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